Today, I woke up as usual. Had my morning coffee. Read some. Started getting the family ready to go. But as I considered everything else that was on my plate to do today (all the necessary, but not-as-exciting stuff)…this is all I kept thinking:
“Maybe I’m not really what I think I am. Maybe I have a higher value or thought of myself than what I’m really capable of. It has been so hard to do what I feel like I am called to do in this season. I feel like I’m always giving my best energies to other things – things that I also sense are very important – but I can’t seem to get the traction that I believe I am capable of getting.”
“God, be honest with me. Am I really called to minister? Am I really called to write? Am I trying to do something I’m actually not cut out to do? Is that why it feels so hard? Yet I can’t see myself doing anything else. I mean, if someone told me I couldn’t live my life in a way that helped people….that feels so contrary to what I am at my very core! Can we talk about this today, God? I need some fresh perspective.”
I carried on, got lunches packed, helped Skylar do her hair. I also went ahead got dressed for my morning walk/jog (affectionately called my morning “wog”). Even though I didn’t want to go to the park today. I didn’t feel like it. But I thought if I could at least get dressed for it, maybe somewhere along the way, between middle school and Capital Blvd., I’d find the motivation.
At this point, exercising is really an act of obedience for me, more than anything. Because one of the things I have felt God teaching me is that I have to learn how to move forward and build WHILE taking care of myself….
“…we run our race to win a victor’s crown that will last forever. For that reason, I don’t run just for exercise or box like one throwing aimless punches, but I train like a champion athlete. I subdue my body and get it under my control, so that after preaching the good news to others I myself won’t be disqualified.” 1 Corinthians 9:25b-27 TPT
I pulled up to the park, turned off the engine, and sighed. (More like huffed). “I’m doing this, and I’m giving all of this time and this energy to You, God. I believe You can, and want to, speak to me. I’m listening.”
“Push yourself today.” Is all I heard Him say in response. Alrighty then.
I got started down the greenway and almost immediately, I saw an acorn on the ground. “Pick it up, but don’t stop – keep going.”
As I kept “wogging” my way through the park, I was running my fingers across the rough surface of the acorn, pressing the pointy tip into the palm of my hand. It felt so small. Yet so strong.
“This is what I’ve given you for this season. Like a farmer, you need strength and patience to plant an acorn. You need strength and patience to tend the field you plant it in. It’s not an oak tree….yet. But within it is the potential for an entire field of trees. And remember, acorns come as a result of what you planted and grew in your previous season. Yes, it’s somewhat familiar to you. Because what you’re planting is coming from what I’ve planted in you. You know what it’s meant to look like. You know what you need to do. But this is where you need to start.”
I kept pushing myself. About half a mile later, He caught my attention with this leaf. “Pick it up, but don’t stop – keep going.”
Awe, I LOVE Fall, God. I LOVE all the leaves. I love living here where I can witness, first hand, all the changing colors this time of year. “Yes….but leaves come AFTER, or as a result of, the acorn.” Ah. Right. Got it. I love the leaves, but let’s be honest. Do I really love acorns as much as I do the leaves? Not so much.
I kept pushing myself, sensing that the conversation wasn’t quite over. But by this point, I was dripping sweat and my breathing was becoming a bit more labored. Just when I started thinking of stopping, a light, cool drizzle.
“I did that too. As a sign to remind you that I know what you need for refreshing. I’ll bring the rain when the time comes so that the acorn will grow. You plant it. I water it. And I’ll refresh you and watch over you.”
Just then a beautiful bright red cardinal flew almost within arms reach in front of me. Hadn’t seen one in months. He knows I love cardinals. Great, now I’m crying as I’m trying to “wog” my way through the park. Yip, there’s people all around me. No big deal. Carry on.
I kept pushing myself.
And then finally, around the last bend, towards the last half-mile of my wog….a HUGE oak tree.
Now mind you, there are trees all around me. I’m in a park…in NC for crying out loud. But this one…stood out. It stood out in a way that it seemed to place a period at the end of our conversation, at least for now. He saved the best for last. And I knew what He meant by it.
The massive tree (like the one I saw in my dream one night) is – and will be – the reward. It’s the promise. But I must start with what is in my hand.
If I can be honest, I always like focusing on the “big trees”. I’m used to them because I’ve had experience in planting and growing. But I can forget that I have to rewind, back up, and start at the beginning. With the acorn.
With each promise, there’s a unique and distinct process. He doesn’t always work the same way. It’s all part of a journey and a relationship in which He opens our eyes and our ears to new things. New things in Him, and new things He wants to show us about ourselves.
Frustration in the process tells me I’m viewing something incorrectly. I need His perspective. And in His Presence, He always helps clear that up. He’s such a Good Father. Such a Great Shepherd. Such a close Friend.
What new thing is God calling you to in this next season? What does your seed look like? What will the tree look like when it’s fully formed and flourishing? What about it feels familiar to you? What about it is yet unknown? What is it going to require of you? In which direction will you need to stretch (and push yourself) beyond your comfort zone to bring it to pass? What next step has He given you to take that you need to be obedient with?
The new always comes in seed form. And the promise carries within it everything it needs to become what it’s meant to become. Take the first step. And be obedient with each step that follows. Listen and watch. It’s more about what He’s wanting to teach you than what you produce. By the way, today, I went further in distance than I’ve ever logged in my morning wogs. I also beat my time per mile. Just trust Him when He calls you to do something far beyond what you think your capacity is.
“So will My word be which goes out of My mouth; It will not return to Me void (useless, without result), Without accomplishing what I desire, And without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.” Isaiah 55:11 AMP
In it with you. Thanks for reading,
Linda G Riddle